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This article was published 21/11/2014 (2247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Housing advocates are gathering this afternoon to parse what many fear is a looming crisis – the slow expiry of federal subsidies for thousands of affordable units.
A new report done for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the end of federal housing cash could mean many poor people see their rents go up.
The operating agreements signed between local non-profits and Ottawa started their slow expiry in 1999 and already 5,000 units in Manitoba have lost federal subsidies offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. But, it’s not clear how many of those non-profits then hiked their rents.
Already, about $10 million in federal housing money has evaporated from the province, one apartment block or seniors home at a time. Local housing groups knew the federal subsidies were time-limited, but the looming financial hit is still worrisome.
Researcher Sarah Cooper says some non-profits will be able to use market-rate apartments to cover the costs of low-income ones. But the upshot will likely be that "hard to house" people with severe mental illness or addictions will be less likely to get an affordable unit.
"[T]he overall result of these changes is that there will be a loss of units for the low-income households who rely on subsidized housing," says her report.
The province has been willing to step in and help non-profit housing agencies now facing financial troubles. There are 26 agencies whose federal deals expire over the next two years and five will likely need a cash infusion.
Housing advocates, including former NDP cabinet minister Tim Sale and Winnipeg Harvest’s Donald Benham will join Liberal and NDP federal candidates for a panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. at the West End Commons.